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Child Maltreat. 2013 Feb;18(1):56-64. doi: 10.1177/1077559512461397. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

Does severity of physical neglect moderate the impact of an efficacious preventive intervention for maltreated children in foster care?

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The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, CO, USA.


Physically neglected youth are at increased risk of mental health problems, but there are few interventions that have demonstrated efficacy in reducing mental health symptoms for this vulnerable population. The Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) program, which consists of mentoring and skills groups, was developed for preadolescent youth in foster care. In a published randomized controlled trial with 156 youth, FHF demonstrated positive impacts on mental health functioning. The current study sought to determine whether FHF might be particularly effective in ameliorating the impact of neglectful family environments. Because it was not possible to isolate a neglected-only subgroup, as most children with physical neglect histories had experienced other types of maltreatment, we tested the hypothesis that intervention effects would be stronger among children with more severe physical neglect. Findings did not support this hypothesis, however, as severity of physical neglect did not significantly moderate the impact of the intervention on psychosocial outcomes.

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